The fighting has seen 99,569 civilians flee southern Idlib as well as north and northeastern parts of neighboring Hama province between December 1 and Tuesday, said the U.N.'s humanitarian coordination office, UNOCHA.
Russia's Defence Ministry had asked the Turkish military on Wednesday to tighten control over armed groups in Idlib after two groups of drones attacked Russian bases on January 6. The Syrian army, supported by Iran-backed militias and Russian air power, began an offensive in late October in Hama province.
Syrian state media, citing a foreign ministry source, said on Thursday that regime forces were fighting to "liberate from the terrorism of the Nusra Front and the other terrorist organisations that belong to it".
Idlib province is nearly entirely held by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist outfit dominated by Al-Qaeda's former Syrian affiliate.
Idlib's few rebel groups and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham have set aside their differences to fight President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
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Rebels said they had captured some 15 villages and seized 60 government fighters.
Rebels launched a counter attack on Thursday.
Now, an intense military showdown is taking place in the countryside of Idlib and Hama, a military source told Xinhua, adding that it is hard for the rebels to capture over 120 towns taken by the army in both Hama and Idlib since the Syrian army unleashed their attack in both countrysides two weeks ago.
The latest push by the army and its allies has alarmed Turkey which has been deploying forces inside northern Idlib and setting up bases which it says are part of agreements with Iran and Russian Federation over a descalation zone in Idlib.
Ankara is concerned that wider fighting in the province could bring tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing from the battlefields on its borders far beyond the numbers now fleeing.